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Cliftonville and Glentoran to meet in Europa League decider

Conor McMenamin celebrates rounding off the scoring for Cliftonville against Coleraine. Credit: Presseye

Cliftonville and Glentoran will meet in a Europa League decider to determine who will join fellow Irish Premiership sides Ballymena United and Crusaders in the tournament next season.

Paddy McLaughlin’s Cliftonville produced a remarkable comeback from two goals down against Coleraine at Solitude on Tuesday night, scoring three late goals to seal a 5-3 win.

Joe Gormley was among the scorers for Cliftonville. Credit: Presseye

It had taken the Bannsiders just nine minutes to power ahead, with James McLaughlin providing the opening goal of the game.

He then added his second and doubled his side’s lead just under 20 minutes later.

James McLaughlin bagged a hat-trick for Coleraine, but it still wasn't enough. Credit: Presseye

While Joe Gormley pulled a goal back for Cliftonville, they still trailed by a goal going into half-time.

Then, in the second half, Coleraine forged ahead again when McLaughlin rounded off his hat-trick to make it 3-1.

Cliftonville's comeback saw them through to the decider. Credit: Presseye

But with less than 15 minutes to go, the Reds then produced two late goals – one from Conor McMenamin and a 97th minute penalty from Ryan Curran to level things up.

That took the game into extra time and Coleraine’s luck had well and truly run out.

A goal from Levi Ives and McMenamin’s second of the night helped Cliftonville to the 5-3 win.

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Meanwhile, at Mourneview Park, visitors Glentoran ran out the 4-2 winners over Glenavon.

Gary Smyth’s side drew first blood with a goal from Darren Murray, but Caolan Marron ensured it was all square going into the break.

Caolan Marron bagged Glenavon's first goal of the game. Credit: Presseye

Just two minutes into the second half, Curtis Allen put Glentoran back in front, but Glenavon didn’t have to wait too long for another equaliser – this time from Andrew Mitchell.

That too was short-lived through, with Glentoran back in front barely a minute later, thanks to Robbie McDaid’s goal.

Glentoran celebrate their win with their fans. Credit: Presseye

And another goal from Murray ensured the 4-2 win.

Cliftonville and Glentoran will now meet in Saturday’s decider at Solitude.

Ballymena United have already qualified for the Europa League as the league runners-up, while Crusaders go through as Irish Cup winners.

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